In Animal Farm, why is Old Major respected?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The above answers are complete in themselves, but it is worthwhile to note that Old Major was also the sire or "stud" of the farm and the "founding father" of a multitude of offspring. Whether Farmer Jones had spared him to this end or not Orwell does not say, but this is implied.

Old Major even tells the young porkers that they will scream their life out at the chopping block within that very same year. Why didn't he meet the same fate? His genetic superiority (although determined by other critera) is even acknowledged by Farmer Jones.

Approved by eNotes Editorial
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Old Major represents the intellectual basis, the ideology, for the revolution.  He may be Marx or Engles or another thinker, but because he presents the animals with a vision untouched by the messiness of making it happen, he has a kind of nobility that often attaches itself to the intellectual.

In terms of the plot, the story needs a reason to undertake the revolution, and a clear and noble vision is necessary.  It's also interesting that the noble vision comes from the same family of animals as the "rulers" who return the farm to the same (or worse) situation that it had under Mr. Jones.

Approved by eNotes Editorial
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Old Major is a representation of the "old guard." Within any form of tyrannical government, there always exists a founding father like Lenin or Marx, for instance. Old Major is seen as this founding father in Animal Farm, as his decrees have previously gained him the respect of his followers.

What's more, Old Major is also physically the biggest pig on the farm, and is up in years, meaning he is formidable both in size and age. Until his death and the rule of Napoleon, he is viewed as the ultimate source of all wisdom. 

Approved by eNotes Editorial
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In Animal Farm, what was Old Major respected for?

Old Major, the Middle White boar, is respected because he is the first of the animals to call for rebellion against the tyranny of the humans. He also gives them their theoretical foundation and their anthem, "Beasts of England." In the symbolic scheme of the novel, he stands for Karl Marx, the pioneering theorist of Communism, who is commonly represented as an old man with bushy white hair and a beard. Like Marx, Old Major eloquently describes the darkness of the present state and the bright future that will come, and like Marx, he dies before any of the things he has predicted comes to pass and before others take over his legacy and misuse it for their own ends.

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In Animal Farm, what was Old Major respected for?

Old Major is the prize white boar whose dream and vision of a Utopian society inspires the rebellion.  In the history of the Russian Revolution, Old Major is Lenin or some interpretations suggest he is representative of both Lenin and Karl Marx.  In any event, it is his beliefs that are important.

 "Although quite old for a pig, he is described as "still a majestic-looking pig." He concludes his speech by teaching of the animals the song, "Beasts of England." It becomes the rallying cry of the Rebellion. Three nights after the meeting he dies in his sleep."

Before he dies, Old Major gets the animals together in the early part of the story to share his vision, his dream for them.  He makes a rousing speech about the tyranny that animals have suffered under the rule of man.  He tells the animals that they must fight man, and most of all, never become like man.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Last Updated on